Reads: 78


Hazel jerked, pulled and tugged at her blankets the hours and minutes had developed much in this fashion it had been the longest five days of her young life her books, papers and all manner of little novelties and possessions about her room were put into their rightful place.

Her floors were clean, windows were polished the fireplace had new timber wood and the walls and ceiling of her room had been dusted, usually the action of cleaning her room was for her to do alone her mother Sara coming from a modest background believed in building character.

Sara’s reaction to the lake incident however had been blown way out of proportion; she had insisted that Hazel stay in bed and rest as hired maids came and polished every inch of her room into the gleaming gem that she now resided in. 

Sara quite literally sterilized Hazel’s room believing that any manner of germs would bring about pneumonia, cholera, or perhaps worse ...The black plague. 

Hazel shook her head at her mother’s quite obvious overreaction and despite the all clear from the doctor Mr. Rocklin and the nurse Mrs. Salts, Hazel laid there… in bed…. restless.

Hazel’s father had a sense of humor about the whole affair, but that was David never worried about anything and always a smile.

He disagreed with Sara to keep Hazel in bed, believing instead that fresh air was good for her and that adventure heightens the spirit but despite his attitude towards it, Sara got her way and so now the butler Mr. tip tended to Hazels every need. 

More than once Hazel asked Mr. Tip politely to leave so that she may have her own privacy, he brought food from the kitchen now, huffing and out of breath from the constant climbing of the unforgiving stairs.

 It was late in the day and Hazel now dined on a very late dinner.

“O Mr. tip when can I finally be freed from my shackles” Hazel expressed in and overly dramatic and joking way as she shook her wrist as if bound by invisible chains.

“And once again join the land of freedom.” she expressed in a childlike way kicking lightly at the sheets. 

Mr. Tip sighed and set a silver platter upon her nightstand and dabbed his forehead with a clean handkerchief as he sat down at the end of her bed and repeated what he had repeated these last few days.

“Madam, please, your mother is just worried that you might have sustained injuries that any doctor can miss”

 Hazel rolled her eyes, as Mr. Tip continued.

“Let her have this time to see that you are better, lord please let her see it soon though, I tell you, those stairs will be the death of me.” He said with a small smile that met both his and Hazel’s eyes.

Reaching for her food, Hazel sighed as Mr. Tip stood, dabbed his forehead again and bowed leaving her to have her peace; she plucked slowly at the morsel in front of her pushing aside the potatoes and the pulled pork she decided that she was not hungry.

She dropped the fork to the plate and it clattered sharply, she laid back in bed and pulled her diary from under her sheets and flipped through the pages after a while she set it aside she went through the draws of her desk and found the green hearted gemstone from the lake, she had twisted a string around it making it into a small necklace she slowly put it on, she sighed thinking of Andrew.

 She stood and walked to the window and pulled away the silver curtains and stared up at the stars connecting dot to dot creating in her mind a bright and living art then slowly she stared down to the streets.

They were slim with pedestrians and the warm night created a lifted fog, she wondered if Andrew was somewhere down below thinking of her as much as she was thinking of him.

Staring down into the streets she caught glimpses between the fog and watched as young couples walked hand in hand enjoying the warm October night.

Hazel smiled and traced the roads with her eyes, an occasional carriage stumble below her eyes darted from street corner to passageways from the bakers to the chemist from the church and in her mind’s eye down the alleyway of Midstrom to the disreputable black lantern.

Caught between the image in her mind and sudden reality standing outside the gate of her home a face appeared in the midst of the fog, a face that she did not recognize shrouded in old linens a woman’s eyes stared back at Hazel. 

Wondering who this woman was and why she stared with such intensity set Hazel in unease where had she seen her before; Hazel pressed her hand against the ice covered window and wiped away the steam build up in her glass the woman still stared looking to her with a strange glimmer of fear. 

Hazel tried not to stare and pretended to notice something else in the distance, but she could still feel the eyes, the intensity of the woman staring hard at her, staring deep through her and within her. 

Hazel pressed her hand to the window she could feel a buildup of energy, a rush of fight or flight, a sudden flush of heat and something strange a slight tingling, something was burning her leg.

 Hazel slowly lifted her dress and stared down at her ankle expecting to see perhaps a bite of an insect or a scar that the doctor had missed or some sort of irritation of the skin.

Balancing herself with her hand pressed against the window she examined it closer, she noticed something strange a distinct color, a red chrisom as if her ankle was inflamed the dove’ed winged birthmark burned and pulsed feeling the heat beginning to grow she became worried and scared, perhaps it was an infection that the doctor Mr. Rockland had not noticed the irritation or whatever it might be continued.

It began to burn hotter as if someone was branding her with a hot sheet of metal, the pain began to intensify she was about to scream out when suddenly the pain was gone and her leg burned no more but her birthmark the wings of the dove glowed red.

Fear began to rise in Hazel, not sure what she should do she watched as the color began to become vibrant as if her birthmark was a glowing red ruby the light beneath her skin burned brighter and brighter the whole room became engulfed with the strange radiance.

 Hazel opened her mouth to scream when then she felt it a strange warmth not consuming nor painful but a very warm butter sense rising from her ankle the light began to diminish and she felt the warmth travel from her birth marked leg up to her thighs travelling slowly through her lower abdomen towards the center of her chest where the green gemstone brightly around her neck and finally through both her shoulders and out her hands.

The window that she place her hand on began to fog and the ice upon it to melt and the glass itself contorted and liquefied around her pressing fingers.

Stricken with fear she pulled her hand away and in awe she stared down at her palms and to her ankle, the light had vanished but the warmth remained.

Stepping towards the window she stretched out her hand and traced the outline of her fingers and palm imbedded into the glass, her hands did not melt the surface nor did the ice began to fade with fear she placed her hand to her worried lips wondering what had happened, wondering what was happening to her.

Then she saw her, the woman standing outside her window looking to her from the cobbled streets just outside the gate the fog thickened all Hazel could see were her eyes an ominous purple flare danced in them struck with fear the woman lifted her hand and with a talon like fingernail pointed at Hazel and whispered out “Hellfire...”

Hazel quickly pulled the silver shades and jumped into bed crying and gasping with fear she stared at her hands she pulled the covers up over herself and wept trying to understand what happened, fear about if it will happen again and what others might think of her if someone found out. She did not understand did not want to understand, scared, frustrated and alone. 

She closed he her eyes and wept, she cried herself exhausted but still even her dreams were of no peaceful rest.

A clash of armor, the sound of cannon fire and muskets the screams of children men and women alike resonated throughout the land.

The blast of fire and the drowning of bloodshed, a sound of war, a sound of pain and there he stood watching over the bloody carnage as spears and arrows and corpses of his men laid before the battle grounds the light of his eyes captured the images of the natives as they fought bravely against his men the captain of his army now rode to him galloping over the death of all who had fallen.

The great pyramid shined in the distance as the natives defended their homeland the captain at his side gashed with blood and angry-fear as he spat out the commanders name “Senior Cortez.” 

Looking down at his captain Cortez once again with frustration and anger asked “Where is it, have your men found it!”

“No sir, he replied “The city has been taken, but the natives have hidden it somewhere, I am sorry sir but we have not yet located it, the men are tired and weak.” 

Cortez turned his steed towards the captain “I did not risk mutiny and betrayal” he said in a thundering tone of voice “and come this far to lose what is mine” 

“Sir” he replied “The gold is ours the city is in ruins, what significance can this item hold when you are surrounded by death” 

“Death” Cortez said smiling “Death will be nothing if I get my hands on it, those priests did not give up its location, I will have it though even if I have to kill every last one”.

Deep in the temple he pulled himself upright the one last remaining priest of Tenochtitlan the blood from his injuries drizzled down the stones steps as he slowly dragged himself down, each step pulled at his wounds as his blood spilled freely, turning to his side he rolled down the last steps and collapsed at the base of the temple.

The air began to leave his body as he struggled with every breath, pulling himself upright he faced the stone serpent’s head and with his hand he pricked his fingers against their stone fangs and the mouth of the serpent opened revealing a hidden latch.

Pulling at the latch the first stone step of the pyramid shook and slowly slid away revealing an opening that led deep down below the great pyramid.

Slowly he walked down the steps as the stone behind him shifted and closed.

Water trickled in the distance, the darkness of the cave gave no mercy to his staggering steps and the hiss of a thousand serpents coiled in his wake, ahead he could see it … A light, a small glimmering red light seeping through the edges of a sealed treasure.

A great supremacy hidden from time, slowly taking a bronze blade from his side he slit a cut in his hand as tribute and glazed it over the seal it open slowly with a spray of dust, carefully he opened it and marveled at the gift contained within.

A single majestic black feather, sleek and perfect in its design, pressing his lips against it he whispered a prayer of protection.

Placing it back into the box above the altar he took the bronze blade and placed it over his chest; again he whispered out his prayer of protection and plunged it deep into his heart.

Hazel awoke drenched in tears and frightful shivers as she held tightly to the emerald heart around her neck, she cradled her frame and wept silently to the sound of the storm. 

The silence of the night crept over the town of Chantwood as critter and creature patted softly throughout the snow, the only sound came from deep below the surface of the earth as the silence was torn by a deep drawing breath.

Demouna arose from the earth; twig and stone fell from her rotten form, the heat from her breath puffed heavily in the air as gnarled claws glistened with beaded snow, she peered off into the distance unimpressed by all around a small twig suddenly snapped in the distance behind her.

Demouna turned her head slowly and spotted a small creature walking unsteadily on four legs its ears perked up and sniffed slightly at the air.

Demouna smiled slyly as she approached closer and closer, with a flash of glowing orange light fearful claws and a galloping gait she jumped free surprising the quiet landscape around.

Blood that is what the forest saw, blood and bone, she gnashed forwards bringing her dear little supper to rest but not blissfully, nor pleasantly but with fear and fondness for the scream.

Ripping pain dulled the senses in torment, and with pump after pump it felt no more, breathed no more, the color of this world faded to a distant black speck. ..Then silence, Or rather a slow slurping and swallowing sound as she bent forwards and drank, Demouna was reborn.

The sustenance from the fresh kill replenished her decaying structure flesh and muscle began to quiver around her body and with each gulp her flesh grew, rippled and stretched covering her decade form long black flowing hair sprouted to her slender shoulder till at last what stood above the fresh carcass was not a monster at all but instead a mysterious stranger fashioned from the fill or blood, a woman none would suspect, a beautiful devilish woman.

Dropping the creature’s body to the ground she wondered the forgotten forest crunch after crunch in the soft drizzling snow whipping the blood from her chin she again felt cold, she felt the elements.

After so long in the hidden shadows the earth's cold winds tortured her body, in the distance a cabin laid bare, forgotten and left to decay strutting towards the decrepitcy she found within broken windows and furniture, dusted in grime. 

Wrapping old linens around her naked body she stood before a shattered mirror staring at her reflection, she saw not the beautiful features of her form but the snarl and gnashing of sharpened teeth and the dark deathless eyes beneath it.

she smiled at the image, the mask, the soft gentle eyes the full dark red lips and the leanness of her high cheekbones, with striving concentration she stared down at the torn seams of his linens and with a pulsing orange glow they changed, transformed into suitable wear befitting a queen.

Smiling at the power she possessed she became eager for more eager for conquest, smiling again at her reflected image she turned her head and sniffed at the air, she caught the scent, the scent that had awoken her, a small trickling taste of power and with the warmth of her new linens she again pressed out into the shifting snow.


Submitted: July 27, 2019

© Copyright 2020 Mark Anthony. All rights reserved.


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